Quick Quote 5 – a three-tier distinction

When talking about homosexuality, I think it is helpful to make a three-tier distinction between attractions, orientation, and identity. … The first tier is same-sex attraction. Using this term is the most descriptive way people can talk about their feelings. This is the part of the equation they can’t control. … The next tier is homosexual orientation. When people talk about having a homosexual orientation, they are essentially saying that they experience a same-sex attraction that is strong enough, durable enough, and persistent enough for them to feel that they are oriented toward the same sex. …  The person is simply describing the amount and persistence of their own attraction, which is based on what they perceive attraction to be. … The third level, gay identity, is the most prescriptive. It is a sociocultural label that people use to describe themselves, and it is a label that is imbued with meaning in our culture.

Mark Yarhouse, Homosexuality and the Christian


  1. Hi Clare, thanks for commenting 🙂

    The author only uses the word ‘they’ because he isn’t personally attracted to other men. He’s not implying that people who are attracted to people of the same sex are somehow in a different category. His book is not at all offensive and is actually very compassionate. He doesn’t make judgements, doesn’t assume that all Christians believe the same things about sexuality, and would very much support you in saying that we are all neighbours.

    The point he makes in the chapter I quoted from is simply that we can all choose how we define ourselves, and while some Christians choose to base their identity on their sexuality, others choose not to. I hope this clarifies a bit. 🙂


Join the conversation

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s